'The Lone Ranger' helping to look after Druridge Bay wildlife reserves

A man has been dubbed The Lone Ranger in his quest to ensure wildlife at Druridge Bay is looked after in lockdown.
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Northumberland Wildlife Trust estates officer Anthony Johnson has been given the nickname as he works single-handedly to ensure its five reserves on Druridge Bay look their best for when people can visit them again.

With many UK charity staff furloughed, support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery has been invaluable is allowing Anthony to continue his work.

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A major part of his job is looking after the Flexigraze livestock - a role which, up until two months ago, would have involved a team of volunteers.

Anthony Johnston, dubbed the Lone Ranger by Northumberland Wildlife Trust staff, restocking the squirrel feeders.Anthony Johnston, dubbed the Lone Ranger by Northumberland Wildlife Trust staff, restocking the squirrel feeders.
Anthony Johnston, dubbed the Lone Ranger by Northumberland Wildlife Trust staff, restocking the squirrel feeders.

The sheep and Exmoor ponies which move from site to site as part of the wildlife charity’s grazing programme are vital to the conservation of the grassland and meadows along the bay.

Accompanied by his dog Archie, Anthony, is checking the reserves: Cresswell Shore and Pond, Druridge Pools, East Chevington and Hauxley for signs of anti-social behaviour, especially fly tipping, looking for signs of disturbance or harm to nesting birds during breeding season and ensuring the Trust’s Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre hasn’t been targeted by vandals.

Perhaps the most enjoyable part of his day during these strange times is topping up the squirrel feeders adjacent to the Wildlife Discovery Centre car park. The squirrels delight hundreds of visitors to the reserve each day in normal times.

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Just before lockdown was announced, the Trust was able to purchase new squirrel feeders and enough bags of squirrel mix to feed the cute animals through the summer.

Mike Pratt, chief executive of Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “The players of People’s Postcode Lottery are helping the Trust to keep going and ensuring even under lockdown we look after and protect wildlife and nature reserves along Druridge Bay.

“We need to make sure that after this health crisis is over, we can pick up where we left off in helping to people recover from the trauma of recent months via our natural health service and such support is making sure that this will happen.”

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